The future is not looking too bright for a new Blue Oval pocket rocket.
There are some models that, when released, we view as harbingers of performance variants to follow. When enthusiasts see a new BMW 3 Series, for example, they can't help but speculate at a new M3. A new Volkswagen Golf? A new GTI to come. And the same goes for the Ford Focus. Only now nearly two years since the Blue Oval automaker revealed the latest model, we've still yet to see a new Focus RS. And we may have to wait a while longer, if it ever comes at all.
"We are waiting for our engineering team to come up with a solution on the powertrain," an unnamed "senior Ford executive" told Autocar about the prospect of a new Focus RS, " and that is not easy given the new fleet CO2 regulations."
Ford had previously been thought to be looking at a mild-hybrid setup to deliver the power a new Focus RS would need while still meeting ever-constricting emissions standards. But now a "mild hybrid is not enough," said the Ford exec, "we're still waiting for the right concept, especially on the powertrain."
One possibility said to be on the table is adapting the hybrid 2.5-liter inline-four developed for the new Escape, with the possible addition of a turbocharger to get output up to around 400 horsepower, where it would need to be to take on the latest high-powered pocket rockets like the Mercedes-AMG A45 and Audi RS3.
That engine would already be bigger than the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four that powered the last Focus RS (and still motivates the Mustang), and with a healthy electric assist to fill in the gaps in the torque curve and satisfy the carbon-counters.
At this point, it's up to the engineers, who have traditionally worked on RS models in their spare time. But even if the project does get the go-ahead, it may not make it over to this side of the Atlantic, where automakers like Ford are (ahem) "focusing" more on crossovers. And while the idea of different products for different markets didn't fly when the last Focus RS was developed under then-CEO Alan Mulally's "One Ford" strategy for global product development, the thinking is very different in Dearborn today. We'll just have to keep our collective fingers crossed.